Location: Southend on Sea, UK
Date: 18th October 2023
Photography and Review by Damien Harvey
“I’ve got 2 tickets to Iron Maiden baby”.. actually, no I have a ticket to see a proper noughties band who arguably made one of the most iconic songs at the start of the 2000s
The intimate and legendary venue, Chinnery’s, played host to an unforgettable night of nostalgia and pure rock energy as the American rock band Wheatus took the stage on October 18, 2023. For many in the crowd, it was a trip down memory lane, and for others, it was a chance to experience the timeless classics of the 2000s in all their glory.
From the start you know they are here for an interactive show, with no setlist planned, they come in and take their places on the stage, which is certainly different to any bands I’ve ever seen. With Brendan on the far left, keyboards next to him, backing vocals at the back of centre stage, bass next to them and drums on the far right, it’s certainly an unusual layout.
Kicking off, Brendan shouts out to the crowd that they get to choose the setlist and asks everyone to shout out the first song to play. This was refreshing as bands will usually play the same songs, the same order for every show on the tour, so to see such interaction after every song was a breath of fresh air!
Throughout the performance, Wheatus maintained an infectious level of energy. Their stage presence was undeniable, and their musicianship was on full display. Brown’s raspy yet emotive vocals were as potent as ever, effortlessly transitioning from anthems to more heartfelt ballads like “Leroy” and “A Little Respect.”
Their debut album dominates the set list, which is no surprise given it’s by far their most commercially successful offering. The groovy ‘Truffles’ ‘Wannabe Gangster’ and ‘Hump’Em N’ Dump’Em’ has everyone dancing away.
Chinnerys was always welcomed with another special treat when Chris Bourne took to the stage. Chris Bourne is the brother of one of the pop-sensation Busted, James Bourne. Brendan had announced that Chris has been to every gig that Wheatus has played at the venue (x4 times) which dates back to when Chris was a little boy. He revealed it’s always been a tradition for him to get up and play ‘BMX Bandits’ and it’s always one of the key highlights of playing at Chinnerys. (See photo below)
The opening chords of “Teenage Dirtbag” erupted through the speakers, and the crowd erupted with a collective cheer. Brendon B. Brown, the charismatic frontman of Wheatus, delivered the iconic lyrics with unwavering energy, taking fans on a journey back to their teenage years. The crowd, a diverse mix of ages, sang along with enthusiasm, proving the enduring appeal of this 2000s classic. An anthem still played at most rock nights 23 years after its release and even had its own TikTok trend last year. A sea of phones recording the moment lights up the room. Support act and friend of the band MC Frontalot joins in and drops a rap verse part-way through as the delirious crowd sing every word at the top of their lungs as they are transported back to their own Teenage Dirtbag years.
Wheatus at Chinnery’s was more than just a concert; it was a testament to the enduring power of music and the band’s ability to create a sense of community. The night was filled with infectious energy, sing-alongs, and pure rock ‘n’ roll spirit. It’s clear that Wheatus, now over two decades into their career, continues to captivate audiences and keep the spirit of their music alive.
For those lucky enough to be at Chinnery’s on this memorable evening, it was a reminder that sometimes, all you need is a bit of nostalgia and the right band to transport you back in time while keeping your feet firmly planted in the present. Wheatus at Chinnery’s was a testament to the enduring magic of live music, and it’s a night that those in attendance won’t soon forget.
American in Amsterdam
A Little Respect (Erasure Cover)
The London Sun
Chan’s the Man
The Story of the Eggs
Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation
Hump’Em N’ Dump’Em
DMX Bandits (with Chris Bourne)
Brendan B. Brown (Vocals, Guitar)
Matthew Milligan (Bass)
KC Marotta (Drums)
Brandon Ticer (Keyboard)
Joey Slater (Backing Vocals)
Gabrielle Sterbenz (Backing Vocals)